BuzzFeed: Inside the Turmoil at Faraday Future, the Startup That Wants to Beat Tesla

Next month, Faraday Future, the secretive electric car startup backed by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, is set to debut its first production vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show. It will be a symbolic moment for the company -- after all, it was at the same event last year that Faraday was lambasted for unveiling an overhyped concept car -- and the hype has been commensurate. Over the past few weeks, Faraday has been aggressively teasing the car with a steady stream of mysterious tweets and short videos of a camouflaged prototype speeding through a desert.

But six former Faraday employees told BuzzFeed News the company is headed toward its big CES reveal following a year fraught with financial troubles, including mounting unpaid bills, lawsuits from a supplier and a landlord, and a distracting side project undertaken at the behest of its largest investor. The past year has also seen a slew of departures, including senior staffers.

“Month to month, the money was never there. Funds were lower than what Faraday needed to cover operational costs and commitments to suppliers,” one former employee with knowledge of the company’s finances told BuzzFeed News. Like most of the people interviewed for this story, the source spoke to BuzzFeed News on the condition of anonymity.

U.S. News & World Report: An Oil Man in Washington

It can be easy to spot the ExxonMobil employees at industry meetings.

"Conservatively dressed, hairstyles that seemed influenced by military rules, cliquish, secretive, and businesslike," Steve Coll, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and staff writer for The New Yorker, writes in his 2012 book on ExxonMobil, Private Empire. "Executives at other oil companies tended to regard their Exxon counterparts as ruthless, self-isolating, and inscrutable, but also as priggish Presbyterian deacons."

That image reflects a deeper culture, one that could often resemble a "cult," Coll says. In the wake of the Exxon Valdez wreck in 1989, which leaked as much as 750,000 barrels of oil into Prince William Sound off Alaska, and the kidnap and murder of executive Sidney Reso in 1992, the corporation sought to standardize -- or "idiot-proof," as Coll puts it -- every conceivable action or interaction by its employees, both at work and at home.

That approach apparently appealed to Donald Trump, a president-elect said to value loyalty above all else who named CEO Rex Tillerson his pick for secretary of state on Monday.

Engadget: Riding Inside the Lucid Air Luxury EV

Exposed wires and metal beams are typically not what you want to see in a car. But as a Lucid engineer punched the accelerator (only Lucid employees are allowed behind the wheel), the preproduction Air I sat in tore down the road of the Fremont industrial park. The vehicle was only operating at half power.

That's about where Lucid Motors is at too. It has unveiled its luxury electric vehicle and started taking preorders, but the factory it needs to build those cars doesn't exist yet and it'll be 2018 before production begins on the Air, its debut vehicle. Actually, the company is operating at about 30 percent of power. Maybe 20 percent.

Auto Blog: GM Will Build and Test Autonomous Bolt EVs in Metro Detroit

Less than a week after Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law the country's most lenient autonomous vehicle standards, General Motors has announced its plans to not only test driverless cars in the Wolverine State, but produce them here, too. According to GM and reported here in October of last year, the company's autonomous vehicles are already floating around Michigan, at the company's historic Warren Technical Center. The new Michigan law is letting GM expand beyond Warren, first to the outlying roads, and then to the broader metro area.

Scientific American: Are We Entering the Photovoltaic Energy Era?

The outlines of a global market for solar-generated electricity are beginning to emerge. An industry that has long been little more than a dream for governments, environmental activists and other strategists hoping to find ways to curb global warming blossomed into worldwide reality last year. Nations from all regions reported to the International Energy Agency for the first time that their markets for what is known as photovoltaic energy were growing.

According to a “snapshot” of this spurt of activity released by the Paris-based agency, nations in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and South and Southeast Asia reported the world market for setting a variety of records. It grew by 25 percent in 2015 as the price for solar panels, the basic unit needed to make electricity, continues a stunning eight-year drop.